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Energy Efficiency Incentives Could Return Under Ohio Bill

 Nest smart thermostat
Dan Lefebvre
Nest smart thermostat

A bipartisan bill in the Ohio Legislature would once again allow power companies to offer energy efficiency programs such as smart thermostats or appliance rebates.
The legislation is sponsored by Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus) and Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati).

It's aimed at undoing an element of a now-tainted nuclear power plant bailout bill at the heart of an alleged $60 million bribery scheme. In addition to a massive ratepayer-funded bailout of the plants, the law also gutted state renewable energy standards and eliminated all energy efficiency programs.

Leland said the would allow electric companies to submit a portfolio to Ohio’s utility regulators that offer customers ways to use more efficient methods – like smart thermostats or appliance efficiency.

“A kilowatt you don’t use is the cheapest and cleanest kilowatt you can come across. And so this energy reduction program will reduce consumer costs, it will create green energy jobs and it will reduce our carbon footprint," Leland said.

Under the proposed bill, customers would cover the cost of reinstating energy efficiency programs, though some could opt-out.

FirstEnergy, the company involved with the nuclear bailout scandal is the only major investor-owned electric company in Ohio that hasn’t yet signed onto the proposal.

Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles contributed to this story.